Paul Hartley is raring for Cove Rangers’ return to League One action against Queen of the South on Saturday following a three-week break from matches.
Cove last played on October 7 – a 3-2 League One win over Annan Athletic – before a scheduled break due to the SPFL Trust Trophy. Storm Babet then postponed last week’s league home clash with Montrose, which has since been rescheduled for Tuesday, November 14.
Hartley says the break in play has been less than ideal for his side, who are looking to build momentum after going unbeaten in their last four League One matches.
Cove travel to Queen of the South in eighth place on 10 points, while their opponents sit sixth with 12 points, having played one game more than Hartley’s men.
Hartley said: “This is our first game of the second quarter, so we want to try and build on what we did in our last four games.
“We have been idle for the last couple of weeks, which hasn’t helped us and it’s disappointing, but we’ve managed to get some good training in over the last couple of weeks.
“It (not playing matches) has been a hinderance because we wanted to build momentum after the Annan game, but we just have to try and do that this week now.
“We were looking forward to our first game of the second quarter being at home (against Montrose), but that wasn’t to be.
“It’s a long journey down to Palmerston and we have to make sure that it is worthwhile – and we won’t make any excuses. We will have prepared as best as we can and have to carry on what we’ve been doing in our last four games.
“We’ve been creating loads of chances and just need to keep the back door shut a bit better.
“I have seen it in the games and in training that the players are getting more confident with the combinations and the partnerships that we have been working on this season.”
Hartley expecting tough game at Palmerston Park
In the previous meeting between the two sides this season, Queens prevailed 2-1 winners at Balmoral Stadium in a fiery contest which saw both teams reduced to 10 men.
Since that win in August, Marvin Bartley’s side have won only one of six League One matches – but Hartley knows Cove will still have to perform at Palmerston Park.
The Cove manager said: “You look at some of the results from last weekend and some clubs had not won in four or five games, but pull off a result and propel themselves up the table.
“Two or three results in this league can put you in the mix amongst the top four again.
“I’m expecting a tough game going down there. They had a good result (a 1-0 win over Annan) off the back of a few bad results where they didn’t have the consistency.
“We had a lot of possession the last time we played them, but were not clinical and were wasteful.
“It’ll be another tough game, like it always is when you go down there.”
Josh Kerr nearing return for Cove
Hartley hopes Cove will be boosted by the return of defender Josh Kerr, who has been sidelined with a broken ankle since late August, in the coming weeks.
He added: “He’s been back in this week and had been ahead of schedule before taking ill, but he’s been back in and we’ll do some work to kick him on over the next few weeks.
“Josh is going to a big player for us and we seen that when he came in at the start of the season.
“Hopefully, he can get himself ready soon – he’s been doing a lot of good work and is a good professional.”